Published: 17th December 2009
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Bonsai requires very few tools. Tools, however, make certain jobs or tasks easier and quicker. Tools can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. As with most things, you get what you pay for. The range of quality (and price) in tools is immense and it is suggested that you buy the best basic set of tools that you can afford. You will come to appreciate them with time, and, if you care for them, they will last you a long, long time.

There are three tools that are essential to even beginning the process of shaping a tree for bonsai.

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You need a pair of scissors which will allow you to do the fine work of trimming in a small space. These scissors should be sharp and you should only use them for bonsai work. You may want to try a small set of pruning shears to start with. Eventually, you will want a pair of shears made especially for bonsai work.

Possibly the most important tool you can have in bonsai growing is a pair of concave cutters. Concave cutters allow you to cut branches off of the tree and leave behind a concave wound. The wound will heal much faster than a straight cut, and will callous over in such a way as to make it very difficult to tell a cut has been made at all. These cutters are an essential part of your collection.

You will eventually need a pair of wire cutters, although these won't need to be purchased immediately. If you put wire on, you will eventually have to take it off. These wire cutters allow you to cut the wire right up to the tree's bark, without harming the tree. These too are essential.

You will also want to get several different thicknesses of wire. In general, anodized copper wire is recommended. It is very flexible until it is bent, then it sets and holds its position. You will use it to position and train branches. We have more on wire in the wiring section of this book.

Once you become more proficient at bonsai art, there will be some more tools you will want to add to your tool chest. These tools make certain tasks easier and allow you to do more things with your trees.

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